[Club Activities - part 2]
Summary: Crowley keeps knocking at your door, quite literally, wanting to hear your club choice. You might as well get this over with.
Notes: gn!reader, humor, it's kinda long, reader is oblivious, mentions of minor injuries but in a funny way dw, it's the looong overdue pt2
Part: 1.0 / 2 (you're here!) / 2.5 (soon!)
"So, have you decided?"
Crowley stands by the doorway. He looks completely normal, a pleasant smile plastered on his lips. You blink, sluggish, resisting the urge to slam the door on his face.
"It's five a.m. on a sunday."
"Yes, that's correct, good to see you're keeping up with the passage of time."
You feel there's a jab aimed at you for taking your time on choosing a club. Or on answering the door. In your defense, Grim was sleeping on top of you and you didn't want to disturb his sleep. Nor yours. You were hoping the Headmaster would just give up and leave you alone, but instead he only knocked louder.
"Uh..." You take a bit to remember the first thing he said. "No, I still have some meetings to go to."
"Were the sports clubs not to your liking? I'm sure you'd do well in one, should you put your efforts on it."
"Nah, I'll pass."
"I see. Then, you'll tell me your decision by the end of the week, yes?"
"Since when did we agree on this." It was a question, but with your drowsy state it just fell flat.
"Since now, of course! I was very kind to let you take so much time to chose a club, but you must understand I'm under some pressure as well to make sure you'll have the best possible education here. We can't afford to lose too much time!"
You blink again, your brain still sleepy. "Oh. Alright."
Crowley claps his hands in an excited manner. "Wonderful! I'll be eagerly waiting for your decision, then!"
Only as you watch his retreating back getting farther away that it finally registers just what you agreed on. You groan, closing the door and leaning against it.
Well, nothing to do about it now. You should really get onto it, anyway. Still, your break will be missed.
Film Research Club (Vil, Ortho platonically)
You had finally left the sports clubs behind, time to try something new, like arts!
Since you've worked with Vil at the SDC, you were already used to his strict personality and thought you'd be able to handle yourself pretty well. You might not have that much experience with acting but you did know how to pretend everything was ok and your life wasn't falling apart, so you think you might have potential.
It was quite surprising to see Ortho there, but the sight of your friend's welcoming eyes and cheer made you feel relieved, relaxing amidst the Pomefiore students. They were intimidating, though in a different way the guys from the Spelldrive club were. The latter looked like they could easily beat you to a pulp, while the former looked like they'd give you a disgusted stare and call you a peasant in such a condescending tone you'd implode on spot. They were all very pretty as well, but you wouldn't let that make you self conscious since you knew no one could beat Vil anyway.
Speaking of, Vil himself comes to speak with you and explain about the club with a professional conduct as he says that Crowley had warned him of your special situation and that he'd let you help out, since they always needed extra hands on deck. You got hopeful at that, perhaps it was time for you to shine and discover a hiden talent of yours! These daydreams are soon crushed as Vil puts you on backstage duty and turns around, having something or other to talk about with the other members.
Well. That was... not what you were expecting. Ortho explains that in order to enter the club as an actor, you must audition beforehand and prove yourself worthy. That makes sense, you guess, so you accept it with grace. Backstage work might not be as exciting as being on the actual stage, but you had Ortho by your side to make sure things won't be too dull. And a side of you wants to make Vil proud of your work, so you suck it up and ask Ortho to lead the way.
Ortho shows you around the set you'll be working on for the day. It's one of Pomefiore's dorm ballrooms, and it's huge. You look in awe at everything, even though it's a bit plain in terms of furniture, it's quite detailed. In moments like this you remember Pomefiore's dorm is a castle, as you feel the royalty emanating from the ceiling, with it's luxurious chandeliers, to the walls, with it's intricate golden patterns, even at the floor, by it's quality.
He teaches you how to operate the lights and sound for a bit while the actors decide on what they'll film that day. You feel just the tiniest bit of jealousy at them, especially because Vil seems to be very focused on everything they say. Ortho must notice this (of course he would), and tries to cheer you up. After all, you're his friend! He doesn't want you to feel bored at the club when there are so many insteresting things to do!
You move from the more technical parts and go to the storage room, where they keep most of the props and extra accessories. You explore it, looking at everything but not touching, not wanting to get in trouble if you break anything on accident. As you're looking at an old mirror, Ortho picks up one of the pink cowboy hats and puts it on your head. It looks goofy, not matching with your uniform at all, and it makes you laugh.
You retaliate by putting a pirate hat full of colorful feathers that's way too big on him. It slides down and covers his eyes, making him look like a little kid trying on their sibling's clothes. Not to mention the feathers, that also clash with his body's design. You both laugh and go to different directions, trying to find more things to put on.
Ortho ends up with a vivid red sash wrapped around his waist and a wooden rod in hands, while you've got a pink feather scarf around your neck and a hollow steel rod in hands. You stare down at each other from your sides of the room, pretending you're on one of those western cowboy movies, even acting like it too. You drawl out something about the town not being big enough for the two of you. Ortho goes along, putting up the worst pirate accent with his robotic voice and telling you to prepared to be boarded.
Between giggles, the two of you meet at the middle, your rods clashing as if they were swords. You make exaggerated moviments that would be impratical in any fight while dropping the most cliche lines you can think of. Ortho dodges your attacks in slow motion and retributes with his own, making it seem more like some funny dance than a sword fight.
You were having so much fun you kind of forgot you were there to do a job. You're quickly reminded as the door suddenly opens and you, startled, let the steel rod slip from your hands mid attack and hit the wall with a loud clang. There stands Vil, hands on his hips as he stares at the two of you with one arched eyebrow, an unimpressed look on his face even after almost being hit right on it. You're not looking the most dignified, with your whole attire. Nor is Ortho, which helps you to not feel alone on the receiving end of Vil's judgment.
The three of you leave the props behind and return to the main area. More precisely, to the actors' dressing room part. It's not an actual separate room, but rather a space of the ballroom reserved for this. Most have put on their costumes and are adjusting the finer details, Vil instructs you to help them while he sets up the stage.
You try your best, but every actor sends you a glare as you approach them, making you turn on your heels and try another one. And another. And another. You're not feeling very helpful. How you wish you could just ignore it like Ortho does. The only thing you actually do is helping zip up some clothes when they can't reach their backs and do it themselves. You don't dare to touch their hair or you feel they'd explode you with their minds. There is one instance when you have to lace a guy into a corset, but you get a bit confused with all the laces. Maybe it's like tying a shoe? You pull on it with too much force at first, leading him to complain at you the entire time. In your defense, you've never done this before! You tie it up with a cute lace at the end to make up for it and scurry away before he could release more of his wrath upon you. You settle on following Ortho around like a lost puppy.
Finally, everyone finishes up and you move to the middle of the room, where the scene will be taking place. From what you gather, the movie they are making is about a royal family that's having their heir assume the throne, but there's a plot against him going behind the scenes. The main character seems to be corset guy, who still glares at you whenever you pass by his camp of vision, much to your (un)luck.
Ortho leads you to the first place he showed, since they'd start recording soon. You watch him work with the lights, turning them on dramatically as they start the scene and making it follow the main lead as he monologues about his woes of assuming such a big responsability and how he feels between the sea of people present. The actor does a good job, good enogh to appease Vil, who watches attentively near the camera. The thing is, he's trying to replicate a foreign accent and that, combined with his melodramatic lines, makes you have to stifle a laugh.
You try your best to stay quiet and pay attention to the story, but some of the lines and the way they dramatically deliver them sound so silly you can't help but giggle in your palm. Ortho looks at you inquisitively, tilting his head and trying to understand what you found so funny. You whisper an explanation to him, making him see the words in a different manner. As you laugh, he laughs along discretely, both of you having fun again.
Vil motions for you to keep your volume down, as to not disturb the actors and break their concentration, and you send him a thumbs up. Still, you keep on reacting, even mouthing their words with exaggerated facial expressions. Ortho seems much more interested in what you have to show than the lights, since he misses some of his cues and gets it later or sooner than intended. Which is also funny, since the confused looks on the background actors' faces are very entertaining.
It comes to a point in which you're holding in your laughter so much you're a bit out of air, and you end up bumping into one of the controls, making the background music change suddenly, from a calm waltz to an action scenesque one. Your startled eyes meet Ortho's, and in true friendship fashion you both burst out laughing. Vil cuts the filming and strides up on you two, reprimanding you once again, and you feel like a guilty puppy being scolded by their owner. You must look like that too, since he sighs like an overworked mother and takes pity on you, deciding on something else for you to do and leave Ortho to do his job without distractions.
Vil gives you the role of an extra to play, just for you to have an idle conversation with the protagonist that won't last even five minutes. He shows you exactly how the scene should go, taking hold of your hand to conduct a dance and dropping casual chatter with you, looking you in the eyes, with a conduct that's so charming you're sure you feel your heart skip a beat (too bad it's just acting though). You feel like you can do that as well, so you hurry to change into one of the formal outfits and repeat the line Vil told you over and over again in your head, heart beating way too fast.
There is just one thing you didn't count on: you apparently have a bad case of stage fright. Or perhaps it's happening especifically because you know Vil will be watching you like a hawk. As you position yourself amidst the other extras, you feel your heartbeat accelerating and your hands start to sweat. You try to relax your tense shoulders and clear your throat, looking at the floor to steady yourself.
As your cue approaches, you move closer to the corset guy, whose attention snaps at you as soon as you enter his vision field. Even if his face looks polite, like a prince, you can feel the glare he's still sending your way, just on a more subdued level this time. You can also feel the stares of the others on your back and your tongue seems to have been tied. Your head comes up with a blank when you try to remember what Vil told you to say. Oh, this is not good. Why did this have to be so nerve wracking?
Time passes slowly, seconds feels like hours as the protagonist waits expectantly for your words. Trying to not disappoint, you blurt out a joke improvisation line, like the ones you see on movies sometimes. Unfortunately, your sense of humor is vastly different from Pomefiore's students', and the joke falls so flat everyone has to take a moment to recover. You wish for the ground to swallow you as Vil yells a "Cut!" and the other actors look judgmentally in your way. Maybe if you close your eyes it will go away? You can still hear the other's whispering, and although you don't understand what exactly they're saying, you can only guess they're mocking you. Welp, guess it's time to become a hermit at ramshackle and never show your face at school ever again!
It takes only a minute, but as soon as Vil has recomposed himself he commands everyone to be quiet. You open your eyes again, gathering all your courage to see the disappointed look on his face, but you're surprised that's not what greets you. Instead, Vil's got a nasty glare that's sharp enough to cut a man, and it's not directed at you at all! Vil procceds to reprimand the rest of the cast for being so inelegant as to make fun of a begginer and even mocks their need to feel superior. You've never felt more grateful for him in your life, maybe you can still go to classes after that, since no one will dare to mess with you and risk his wrath.
As the others look ashamed for being yelled at by their leader, Vil pulls you aside and tells you that maybe it's better to try something else if your stage fright is going to affect your performance so much. He sounds strict as always, but he has an almost soft look in his eyes as he congratulates you for trying to overcome that fear and that you did well enough for someone with no experience. You feel a lot better after that and thank him sincerely, promising to give it your all at whatever other job you can do to help! He smiles at your enthusiasm and it's as if the clouds have parted ways for the sun to shine. (The other club members look amazed, as they've never seen such a soft smile on Vil's face before.)
He then asks you if you know how to work with a camera. If taking pics with Cater to post on Magicam counts then yes, you do have some experience with it. Vil says he's got the perfect job for you: being part of the camera crew and helping to film everything. You accept, after all, how hard can it be, really?
Apparently, a lot. Vil had just left out a little detail from this job: you'd be filming the aerial angle of this scene. Which meant using Kalim's magic carpet. As you recall, you're not the most adept at riding it, flashbacks from winter vacation entering in your mind. Still, you had promised Vil you'd help on this, and you weren't sure if he'd find you another thing to do or get your complaining the wrong way, so you decide to give it a try anyway.
You wobble on it, camera propped up on your shoulder and secured by a sling strap just in case you losen your hold on it. (Which is very likely). Surprisingly, you manage to get the carpet off the ground without many complications, so things are looking up (quite literally)! And then comes the part where you have to guide it and you're almost thrown out of a window with the force it makes a turn. Your grip on it tightens and you try to wrestle it into submission, with little success.
Things procced like this, you trying to learn how to drive the carpet while making turns on the air and holding on for your life. (And making sure the camera is safe. You don't want a repeat of the chandelier accident from the start of the year, so you're not taking any chances). Anything you might have tried to film is probably so shaky and blurry it isn't even usable, but you have more important matters to worry about.
That goes on until you make a particularly sharp turn, causing the carpet to lose control and go spiraling straight to the floor. Luckly, you manage to land on a convenientely placed couch (has that been there before?) and doesn't get much hurt. You're clutching the camera to your chest in a protective manner, so it isn't damaged either. At least, not much, but it isn't anything the Ignihyde guys can't fix.
Vil and Ortho are by your side in an instant, asking if you're alright. Vil extends his hand and pulls you up like a gentleman, fixing your hair softly. He's really close to your face and you can feel your heart beating faster, though you're not sure if it's due to that or the adrenaline of the fall. Ortho reassures you that not even him got the hang of piloting the carpet, as it seems to only actually obey Kalim, and that you did your best!
You really did try, so you can safely say you won't discover any hidden acting talent any time soon. Time to check out other clubs.
(Ortho tells you to drop by another time at practice and watch the recording with him, since he had a lot of fun! Vil tells you that should you wish and work hard for it, you may have potential and he'd be willing to help you reach it. You agree, since it was very nice to visit and, most of all, to get to see Vil on his element like this. There's an added bonus of you not having ended up at the infirmary as well, which is enough to put the club on a positive light in your books. It's a bit sad that's the standard, but oh well, nothing to do about it.)
Science Club (Trey, Rook)
Alright, art may not be for you, but maybe science is! Or... whatever it is that they do in this club.
It's a bit intimidating since there are way too many people there, more than you've seen in any other club. What could they possibly be doing to attract this many people?
Rook, as observant as ever, notices you before you've even set foot inside the lab, coming close to greet you and ask if you were going to join them for the day. You relutanctly agree, staying close to his side as he leads you deeper into the room, opening the path. You make sure to not bump into anyone and cause an accident.
Trey is at one of the work tables at the back, sharing it with Rook. He sends a calming smile your way and explains that it's a club with a vast variety of activities, as long as they're not of the physical sort. You sigh in relief, listening to him reciting things such as plant cultivation and chemistry experiments. You already have to do those things on your regular classes, so you're confident in your ability of succeding for once. Rook adds that this flexibility in activity has attracted many people, creating a beauté diversity of members. (Trey explains that there's a lot of odd people as he side eyes Rook).
You sit with them, since you don't know anyone else. Rook goes on about the experiment he'll be doing this time, something that will leave a beautiful impact and stay on the mind of anyone looking. It sounds a lot like what happens when you partner up with Ace and Deuce at alchemy class, that is, stuff is about to be blown up. You scoot closer to Trey.
Taking pity on you, Trey reminds Rook that there's an ingredient missing, since they had used all from the lab's storage on their last class, and offers to get it at the botanical garden for him, inviting you to come along. You jump at the opportunity, agreeing and getting up to follow him. Rook thanks his generosity and explains that there's no way a gentleman like him would leave all the hard work onto the two of you, so he follows along. Trey looks a bit annoyed, but you only wanted to get out of being roped into a crazy experiment so you don't mind much, as long as you keep Rook away from any potential explosive plants.
The fresh air from the gardens is much better than the stuffy feeling from the crowded lab, and you take a deep breath to appreciate it. Trey takes you to the temperate zone, the path filled with beautiful flowers of all colors and scents. The sound of the little river below you only adds to the pleasant atmosphere, the sun rays warming up your skin and soul. It's wonderful. You'd like it if your club classes were to take place there. It might be enough to convince you to join, the nature so full of life energizing your mood, a smile blooming on your face.
You pass by an area that has thicker vegetation and stands out from the whole, attracting your curiosity, so you ask Trey what could be there. He warns you to not wander to that side of the garden, as there were carnivorous plants being cultivated by the third years. You wave him off, saying you had those back in your world and they were pretty harmless. Trey looks at you in doubt, but decides to not question it, aceptting your answer and going back to his search for the missing ingredient.
Since you have no idea what you should be looking for, you leave the boys to it, deciding to observe the flowers instead. Distracted, you end up getting farther away from them, the flora enticing you and putting you under a spell, demanding your attention. It's not until you bump into a tall... something, that you realize how far you had gone. You lift up your head, wondering if you had bumped into a tree, only to find two open hinged lobes dripping with sap closing on your face.
A scream gets caught in your throat as you take in the gigantic carnivorous plant in front of you, that's only coming closer. You didn't know that when Trey had mentioned them, he didn't explain that they aren't like the one from your world at all. Not only were they huge, but also seemed ready to eat a human at any given chance.
You're pulled by someone behind you, falling into a secure chest and feeling strong arms embracing your waist as the plant's jaw's close into the air where you were just a second ago. The sigh you let out shakes your whole body and you let your weight be supported by your saviour. You find out his identity soon enough, as a familiar voice by your ear calls you chéri and asks if you were fine.
After thanking Rook, he guides you to the main area of the garden with a protective hand behind your back, making sure you wouldn't stumble into any more potential dangerous plants, as he goes on about how they were "the hunters of the natural world" and how "such danger has it's own alluring charm, non?" You don't catch the glint in his eyes as he asks the question, too busy trying to get your heart beat back into a normal rhythm.
Trey scolds you lightly for ignoring his advice, but he seems busier trying to equilibrate the plants he harvested in his arms and glaring at Rook, probably for leaving him alone to do all the work. Rook stays unbothered, putting his hands on your shoulders and staying close as he directs you to the exit, his usual smile stamped on his face.
As you put the fresh ingredients near the others that Rook had selected earlier, you notice some strawberries in the mix. You shot a questioning stare at Trey, making him laugh and explain he took the chance to harvest some of his hand grown special strawberries. He takes some from your hands, brushing your fingers together before lifting them up to inspect closely. The strawberries are a beautiful shade of red, making you salivate only by looking at them. Trey has a contemplative expression as he murmurs he should use them as soon as possible in order to make the best use of their ripeness.
You suggest him to make a strawberry tart with them and offers your help, on the light price of getting to eat it as well. He smiles and agrees to your proposal, telling you to follow him to the kitchens. You do, happily so as you carry some of the strawberries in your arms, leaving Rook to take care of the potions experiment. Really, you feel like you've killed two birds with one stone, so you pat yourself on the back for doing a good job.
Back at the first month of classes, you remember cooking with Trey, Ace, Deuce and Grim, and how much fun you had, despite the circumstances. With the group reduced to two, it might be more toilsome, but you were confident it would be worth it.
Trey finds an extra apron for you, tying it himself to make sure it would stay in place. He gently explains the steps to prepare the ingredients, helping you whenever you didn't understand something. It was quite nice, seeing Trey look so in his element, an unconscious soft expression on his face, as if he was enjoying himself. It's domestic, even, how you dance around each other in the kitchen, passing bowls and cutlery back and forth. He is good humored as he recalls stories from the club, making you laugh whenever he bemoans Rook's experiments.
The stories he tells are very captivating, so much so that you don't look at the recipe book, doing the steps on automatic. Once or twice you almost spill what you were mixing or use too much force to cut something, but it's salvageable every time, so you don't comment on it. You leave the crust on the oven for a bit too much, but it's only slightly charred, so you're pretty sure it's still edible. One of the flour bags slips from your hands and falls on the sink, covering your face in flour powder. Trey helps you clean up, but he's laughing at you and your now white hair. It comes to the point in which you're mixing the crème pâtissière and you get too close to the stove, making the ends of your sleeves to catch on fire. Trey quickly puts it out and runs your arm under cold water. The crème ends up a bit too lumpy, since neither of you were stirring it for a while, but it's not too bad.
Alright, maybe you're not the best at cooking. Still, arranging the strawberries in a circle on top of the tart was pretty fun. The last thing left to do is to let it cool. You lick your lips thinking about eating it once it's ready. You're about to help Trey clean the mess you've made in the kitchen when Rook bursts through the door, looking excited. He tells you there's no time to explain and takes you by the hand, dragging you back to the laboratory. You send Trey your best regards and wish him luck in cleaning everything alone. He sends you a pitying look back.
You should wish yourself some luck as well, since the motive for Rook to have brought you to the lab was for you to help him with the new formula he thought for his experiment. He explains that the one he was trying didn't have it's desired effects, as you could clearly see from the scorch marks on the table you were sitting before. He says that for the new formula, he'll need help to get the ingredients prepared and handed over, since he couldn't stop stirring it until everything was added in. You don't know how he came up with this solution, and honestly? You don't want to know.
Having no other choice, you agree to help him. He reminds you to put your gloves and safety googles on before starting, making a comment on how your cute apron would do as your lab coat. After getting into place, you follow all of Rook's instructions, preparing and handing over the ingredients he asks for. You have no idea what it is that he's going for, as your potions classes are still on a basic and more theorical level, but you decide to trust that he, as your upperclassman, knows what he's doing.
Dread pools on your gut as you watch the ingredients going into the cauldron. There's a hissing sound and bubbles emerge from the deep purple concotion. You have no time to react as Rook thows his arm in front of you just in time for the explosion to take place. You grip onto the table tightly and manage to stay upright, thanking the Sevens for your safety googles. If it were not for them, your entire face would be covered in a sparkling purple powder, some getting into your hair as well. Rook laughs and tells you that you shine bright like the sun. You look on unamused. Trey appears, having heard the explosion, and sighs, clearly being too used to this happening. He tells you and Rook to clean up as he starts to clean your mess, bless him.
Rook takes you to the nearest bathroom available, both of you trying to wash the explosion's results off. It has stuck like glue, and you have to splash your face with the cold water over and over for it to go away. You think there's still some of it on your hair, but can't bring yourself to care much. The apron wasn't enough to cover your body, so your clothes weren't spared either. Rook doesn't comment on it, but you can see him looking at you funny by the corner of your eye.
As you enter the lab, you see that the students that stayed after the first explosion had left. Rook wonders out loud on why they didn't like the innovation of his experiment, sighing as he goes on about the beauty of curiosity. You and Trey exchange glances as you clean everything together. You feel like you stayed way past the club's scheduled time and your arms hurt from moping the floor. At least you get to share your wonky strawberry tart. It doesn't taste as good as Trey's usual ones do, but you like it. You can't decide if it was worth all the trouble though.
Grim laughs at you once you get back to Ramshackle, your face is itching for the rest of the day, there's some sparkles in your hair for the rest of the week, your slightly burnt arm won't stop aching, you sent your clothes' laundry bill for Rook to pay. As much as you respect scientific advances, you feel that being involved in the research isn't for you (nor the cooking). Time to check out other clubs.
(Rook keeps approaching you at the halls to update you on how he's thought of possible changes to make the potion work. Trey comments he liked having company in the kitchen and help for cleaning up for once. They aren't very subtle. You don't even have to agree to visit the club again another time, as Rook has already volunteered you as his lab assistant and Trey has gifted you a recipe book with markings on which recipes you'll try to bake next. Guess you have no other choice but to go back now.)
Pop Music Club (Cater, Kalim, Lilia)
And back to the arts you go. But this time, instead of performing, how about playing some music? Joining the school band might be fun!
You're surprised to only find three people in the club. All the others had a bunch of people, but in this one, once you enter the classroom you're met with three of your friends hanging out in a couch. Why was there a couch in this classroom in the first place!?
It's not just three random people, either. It's the chillest and most extroverted people of the school, the ones that got along with everyone and were very popular. They whip their head so fast to the direction of the door once you enter you get a little worried for their necks. They seem elated to have a visitor, so you suppose this won't be so bad, even if you don't feel confident enough to play an instrument in front of other people.
Kalim jumps at you and envelops you in a big hug, a smile shining on his face as usual. Lilia pats you on the back, pushing you closer to the center of the room and welcoming you. Cater takes out his phone and takes a selfie with everyone, declaring it would go viral to have the cutest people of the school all together in one place and gushing over how many likes he'd get. They sure are a lively bunch.
Lilia plops you down on the couch, telling you to feel at home and winking. There's a center table with food containers in front of you, Kalim offers you a bite, explaining they made the snacks to bring to their club meetings, and Cater proposes to make it a culinary competition, in which you'd judge which one was the best. You were pretty sure you had left the cooking behind at the science club, what did it even had to do with music? Well, you weren't going to complain about getting free food!
Cater insists you try his first, a round tupperware with fried corn tortilla chips and guacamole in a dipping bowl at the center. It looks amazing, making your mouth water a bit. You take one of the chips, lightly lower it on the dip and take a bite. It's overall very good, the consistency and the crispness are wonderful, there's just one little problem: it's very spicy. Very spicy. Not the "oh no there's a tiny bit of spice in my otherwise bland food" type but the "my eyes are burning my thorat is burning my stomach is burning I'm going to burn from the inside out" type. And that's how you feel as you fan your face and drink the water Kalim brings you, though it only makes the burning worse, spreading it throughout your mouth and making your eyes water. Lilia appears upside down, hanging from the ceiling and scaring you, and offers you a glass of milk instead. You gratefully take it and chug it down as quick as you can.
Once you've calmed down, Lilia explains how he keeps milk around for Cater's food, that's way too spicy for his liking. Cater looks at you with puppy eyes, asking if you liked the chilli peppers he added to the recipe. You didn't, not really. It would be one thing to add some, sure, but it's like there's more pepper than anything else. You weakly smile at him and explain apologetically that it might not suit your tastes so much. Cater seems a bit down, but he only shrugs and jokingly says that not everyone can have good taste.
Kalim bounces up to you next, shoving his container in front of your face and telling you to try it. He proudly says he made it all without Jamil's help and that he hopes you'll like it. You look at the fried dumplings, remembering it's a sweet called awameh. It looks good as well, although a bit burnt, nothing that would stop you from eating it. You take one, getting surprised by how crunchy they ended up being, the sweetness exploding in your tongue. It would be very good, but you have the impression Kalim must have used the wrong measure of the ingredients. Yes, it was sweet, but it was way too sweet. Not only that, the sugar mixed with the cinnamon on the syrup also left you thirsty, as you downed another cup of water. It was like cinnamon was impregnated on your mouth, there was definetly too much.
While you accept your tongue will never be the same after the combo of strong flavours, Kalim reveals he tried to follow one of Jamil's mom's recipes for it, declaring it to be the best he's ever proved. He just got a bit confused when taking the measures for some ingredients, but he was proud of his work! You make a mental note to try to eat one of Jamil's awameh later, sure that it would taste delicious, and compliments Kalim on his efforts, suggesting gently to ask for help next time he has trouble with it.
The last one is Lilia, and you start dreading what might be hidden on his container. He seems preppy that someone will get to try his food, telling you that he's the one that cooks dinner at Diasomnia and how Silver and Sebek love his food. Cater and Kalim look at you with pity, shaking their heads. You've heard of Lilia's infamous cooking skills before, so you have to mentally prepare yourself before looking at what he prepared. It's... uh... something alright. Though it's unrecognizable, a dark glob that just looks sticky and burnt after the point. Your desperate look does nothing for Cater and Kalim to try to save you, as they look away furtively.
Aceppting your fate, you take one of the spoons Lilia brought and take the smallest bite possible while he stares at you attentively. It tastes foul, as expected, as if something had died in your mouth. You resist the urge to gag, trying to go for a smile and ending up with a grimace instead. It's horrible, there's no other way to describe it. All the rumors don't do it justice, it's way worse than what they say. You suspect you will get food poisoning later, as you down another glass of water. At least you're keeping yourself hydrated. Lilia seems to either not notice or pretend he didn't, as he keeps his cheery attitude and asks if you liked it. You nod weakly, hoping it would be enough for him to not force you to take another bite. He mercifully looks satisfied with the answer and you sigh with relief.
In the end you tell them you don't know which one was the best (you side eye Lilia's, thinking on how you knew which one was the worst at least). They don't look disappointed, content in having you prove their food as each munchs on their own snacks happily. You wonder how they manage to do it. Suddenly you miss Trey's baking and the wonky strawberry tart you've made.
As everyone sits together, Cater puts on some electropop song on the background that reminds you of the famous vocaloids from your world. You have an epiphany that Cater would listen to Hatsune Miku. You're not sure what to do with that information, staying quiet in shock as the other three talk between themselves. You remember him mentioning something like it when you went to do the SDC auditions, but you had other things to worry about and it must have slipped your mind. Once you've recomposed yourself, you ask what the food had to do with music, since the question had been burning in your mind for some time (not as much as your tongue burned tho).
They explain that the pop music club doen't really do much music, as the name suggests, they mostly just hang around to chat and chill. It has gotten them in a bit of trouble with the Headmaster, as they don't do anything that could actually be considered a club activity, causing him to have threatened to disband the club. Not to mention there's no new members for a while, no matter how much they try to attract more students. You consider joining this one just to spite Crowley. They clarify that they do play their instruments every once in a while to cover some song, but with their different music tastes they never reach an agreement on what to play most of the time.
You're curious on how they might sound as a band, sure it would be a chaotic but entertaining sight. You would ask to see this, if it was not for Cater excitedly declaring it's "gossiping time". They put on elevator music to play at the background and huddle close together, leaving a spot open for you to join their little circle, as if you were about to be in into the school's secrets. And that's exactly what happens, as the three of them seem to know about everyone and everything that goes on Night Raven College. There's so much drama you've never heard about, and you feel you know way too much about the lives of people you've never even met, but it's nice to create conspiracy theories about what would happen next in the soap opera that was other people's lives.
The topic changes to Magicam, since you were lowkey stalking the boy that had caused a ruckus in the cafeteria the past days. Cater likes his account's aesthetic, saying it passes the bad boy vibes he has, and whines about their club's magicam page. You weren't aware they even had one, so you ask to see it. It's... not what you were expecting. They might as well not have an account, since there are no photos other than their icon, which was the symbol of the club. Cater complains that they couldn't come to an agreement on how the page should look and were too lazy to try to work something out, so it has stayed like that for months.
Since you know how much he cares about this stuff, you offer your help! After all, it could be a lot of fun, and it'd feel as if you're the manager of the club. Cater lightens up with joy, throwing his arms around you and bringing you close to affectionately rub his cheeck on the top of your head, thanking you for being such a prestative underclassman. You enter your business mode, thinking on how you could go about this. It makes sense to promote the club doing something other than hanging out, so you tell them to pick up their instruments and pose.
You go around them and try many different angles. Kalim and Lilia have fun doing weird poses that makes very clear they aren't playing at all, but there's a charming genuine smile on their faces. Cater poses with his guitar like a professional, making captivating facial expressions that make even you swoon, only encouraging him to make different ones. He could be a model, you think, with how he knows all the right ways to smile at the camera and tilts his head just so to make him look cute and alluring at the same time, fingers skillfully positioned at the eletric guitar's chords, eyes lidded, hair messy deliberately, body facing forwards with confidence. He has everything to ace the rockstar persona, at least in looks.
You try taking some of them together as an unit, but none pleases you enough. There's something missing, but you can't quite put your finger on what. You give his cellphone back as you ponder about it. Cater looks through the photos, commenting how one looks "super cool~" and in the other he's "slaying". He decides it'd be a great moment to take advantage of his cuteness streak to take a photo with everyone together, yourself included. Cater drapes his arm around your shoulders and keeps you close to him, cheek coming to rest at your forehead. Kalim and Lilia make poses behind you two, laughing at how silly they look with all the filters Cater tries on.
He ends up telling you to decide which photo looked better, as he couldn't chose just one, something like: "any photo with you would look cute, of course I can't chose!" You look through all of them, but only one gets your eyes, the only without a filter. Everyone looks genuinely happy, making your heart warm. Cater's is not looking at the camera itself, but slightly to the side, where you are, with such a soft expression you can't help but be endeared by it. It's him, not a forced smile and exaggerated pose, just Cater, happy. That's what the other pictures were missing.
You show it to him, insisting it's the best and should be the first photo on the club's Magicam page. He pouts about the lack of filter, saying how the other ones look much cuter, but you explain that you like the real him much more than any filter, since nothing could ever come close to the real deal, no filter in the world could make him justice. You're very genuine with it too, since it's the truth. Cater stares at you, caught by surprise, and turns his face away from you, ears tinted pink, taking a minute to recompose himself, leaving you confused. Lilia looks on knowingly, smirking at him. You weren't alone in your confusion, as Kalim seemed to be just as clueless as you.
Your argument manages to convince him, though, as he soon comes up with an eye catching description and posts it, grumbling that you should be happy now. You are, actually, so you simply smile at him, giggling at his playful eye roll. Only after the picture was already posted and you entered on your own account that you notice your eyes were closed. You yelp and try to convince Cater to change it to another one, but he refuses, telling that you were the one that chose it so you should stick with it, sticking his tongue out at you in a childsh manner. You whine some more before giving up. Cater seemed really content with the choice, if the soft smile on his face as he glanced at it meant anything, so you let it be, resigning to your fate. You weren't even a member, so you hoped you wouldn't attract that much attention. (You really hoped Ace wouldn't find it, otherwise you'd never hear the end of it.)
He suddenly gets an idea to decorate the classroom to make it look more "magicamable", dragging Lilia with him to get the decorations. Lilia whispers something to him that makes him glance back at you with a red face, quickly scurrying away and leaving you and Kalim to look on in confusion. How weird, what had gotten into him?
At that moment, the playlist shuffles, coming up with a song that has a very upkeep beat. Kalim jumps in excitement, saying that was his favorite song and he couldn't not dance to it. You can't help jumping your leg and moving your head to the beat, swaying to the contagious rhthym. Kalim notices and extends his hands in your direction, inviting you to dance with him. You know you're nowhere near his skill level and you'd look clumsy compared to his fluid moviments, but his earnestness convinces you to give it a try. You were sure he wouldn't make fun of you, so why not have a good time too?
Hand in hand, the two of you move together, not completly in sync, but in a rhythm that feels right, that's only yours. It's nice, seeing his content expression up close, foreheads almost touching, feet following the other's steps, hips swaying together. You spin once, laughing, he spins once, grinning wildly. You're lost in the trance of the hypnotizing beat of Kalim's heart.
The song gradually comes to a stop, making both of you calm down too. Kalim has one hand on your waist, the other still holding yours. You hold onto his shoulder, your noses touch, breaths coming in puffs, his eyes crinkle and it's warm, he's warm. Your chest follows his in it's rise and fall, your stomach does pirouettes, to the point you're dizzy, your cheeks feel hot. You start worrying you might have really gotten food poisoning from Lilia's cooking.
Before either of you say anything else, the sound of Cater's giggle burst your bubble, bringing you back to the real world. You whip your head to the door, watching as Lilia and Cater giggle deviously, Cater's fingers working fast on his cellphone's keyboard. You separate from Kalim's burning touch, your hands suddenly feeling cold, and stride up to them, demanding to look at what they found so funny. Lilia shows you, on his own phone, a videoclip of you and Kalim dancing together, nearing the end of the song. Your focus is initially on Kalim, as he glows, movements showing years of expertise, it's... beautiful. Then your gaze averts to yourself, and how, like you suspected, you were looking goofy near him, not matching the tempo at all.
You whine up at Cater again, asking him to delete the stories he posted, but he refuses, saying it was way too precious to miss. You lightly hit his chest and look up your lashes at him, pouting. His teasing expression falters, as if you were on the brink of convincing him. Lilia pulls you away and explains it was only on close friends anyway, so you needn't worry about the whole school seeing it. Kalim agrees that the video is very nice, beaming as he watches you two having fun. You sigh and give up, not having the heart to be a killjoy.
Lilia and Cater's hands are empty of any decorations, so you question them about it. Cater frowns exaggeratedly, drowning on dramatically on how they couldn't find any and how it was such a pity. Lilia covers his hand to hide a giggle, only making the action more obvious. Cater glares at him subtly. Kalim notices how the club's reserved time is almost coming to an end, deciding that to make a grand finale you should play an instrument, after all they should at least pretend they did something club related for you to report back to the Headmaster. And it'd be a lot of fun for you to play with them!
Lilia claps his hands together, agreeing it would be a most gleeful experience. He insists on teaching you how to play the bass, not wanting to hear whether you already knew how to or not. He gives you the instrument and shows how to hold it in the right way, trying to teach a few chords. It's a bit difficult to understand the confusing terms he uses, so he sighs and comes behind you, taking your hands in his and doing the movements, pressing his chest against your back, his deep voice right by your ear as he explains. You can't pay attention to it all, for some reason. You kind of feel dizzy again. Perhaps it's the food poisoning for real this time?
His fingers guide yours along the strings, gently pressing on the right spots, strumming the chords at the bridge. He murmurs the instructions, voice ressonating like the low pitch of the instrument, hot breath tickling your skin. You let him do as he pleases, dazed. The simple notes ring in your ears, lulling you into calmness, eyes closing as you let your sensations take the wheel, the frequency making your heart vibrate in your chest, as if dancing along, your head floating in the clouds.
It's all good and well until Lilia starts singing along. Or whatever it is that he calls "singing". In reality, he starts screaming some punk-rock lyrics right by your ear. Your heart jumps so quickly you swear you almost had an arrhythmia, your soul leaving your body for a second. Your eyes snap open so fast the lights from the classroom blind you and make black spots appear in your vision. You elbow Lilia in your surprise, thankfully making him stop trying to burst your eardrums. You get away, taking off the strap of the bass and giving it back to him. You think that's enough practicing for now.
Later on the day you confirm your food poisoning suspicions to be true. You've gained a new found respect for Sebek for enduring the poison Lilia calls cooking everyday and still managing to keep that impressive disposition of his. At least you helped the pop music club get more followers on magicam and spread their word out there. A bunch of people sign up to know the club, so you're all really happy! You felt like you've done a good job. (In the next week, the people arrive and see no sight of you, only of the dynamic trio. They don't show up again, leaving the members number back to it's original three.)
It was pretty fun, all things considered. You didn't get hurt other than in your pride and your social image, so it's a win in your books. Still, you're not sure you could handle their energetic and chaotic personalities combined like this evey week and risk getting deaf or suffering stomach failure. Time to check out other clubs.
(Cater comments on how the photos you took together got the most likes, insisting you come over again for a photoshoot. Kalim says he's got new songs to dance with you and that he's asked Jamil to help him cook for the next club meeting. Lilia tells you that you still have to take some more bass lessons to get the hang of it. Well, you suppose you could pass by sometime to be in the know about what goes on at the school and to get to prove Jamil's cooking. And to enjoy your friend's company, of course!)